Queen Victoria carried severe haemophilia 'Christmas disease' gene

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The “Royal disease” that afflicted Queen Victoria’s family line was a severe form of haemophilia, according to a new study. The verdict was reached after genetic analysis of the bones of the wife and children of the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II, who were descendants of the British monarch.

Tsarina Alexandra, Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, and two of her children, Crown Prince Alexei and his sister Anastasia, all carried genetic mutations associated with the condition, also known as Christmas disease, after Stephen Christmas, the first sufferer to be studied in detail, in 1952.

The genetic defects responsible for haemophilia are located on the X chromosome, meaning that while women can be carriers of the faulty gene they are rarely sufferers. Females have two X chromosomes, so if there is a mutation on one they have a back-up. Men are XY, so if they inherit a faulty X chromosome they are guaranteed to develop the condition.

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